Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Underthinking Zodiac

So there seems to be a lot of talk about the addition of the 13th zodiac sign Ophiuchus, which in turn has changed most people star signs. Now let me preface by saying I am as skeptical of zodiac signs, as a toddler is the first time they get the potty training instructions.

"You want me to do WHAT WHERE?
I mean the idea that your life is decided based upon when you were born, given the many number of people born under the same star sign as you seems unlikely. But I have always tried to keep up to play since the majority of woman seem to talk about it a lot, so I feel it gives me a good start in conversation.


Knowledge of chocolate also universal woman conversation
Where do these signs come from, well Zodiac comes from the Greek, z┼Źdiakos kuklos, meaning circle of animals. This circle is actually an elipse, which for those unfamiliar is the shape you get when a fat person sits on a swiss ball

An Ellipse. 


The reason the zodiac is an ellipse is it relates to the position of the sun in its orbit around the earth. Wait, what? That's right the zodiac is based upon a geo-centric universe, which has the earth and the centre. Based on this the zodiac tells us in front of which constellation the sun is at a particular time of year. So a lot of people base their lives on something based on an idea we chucked out in the mid-17th century.

"I say Ichabod, did you hear the Earth is not the centre of thee universe"
To be fair though, the sun does have an apparent eliptic orbit around the earth, which is actually the earth moving. Now being an aesthetic creature we decided that we should divide this elipse into 12 equal segments of 30.4 days each. In actual fact the universe is not so co-operative, and the constellations actually vary quite vastly in length from Scorpio (8.4 days) to Virgo ( 44.5 days).

"8.4, 30.4, meh they are practically the same"
 Each of these divisions are named after the shapes of the constellations, with half of them being animals, hence the circle of animals name. Although that seems a wee bit of a generalization, it should really be half an elipse of animals, and half an elipse of other stuff including but not limited to, a virgin, and some scales. But that's probably a bit wordy, although far more accurate.
Incidentally who names the constellations? They seem to have a pretty good imagination.
A Lion apparently?
 To make matters worse, due to something called the "precession of the equinoxes" the position of these constellations is changing constantly. You see Aries is considered the 0 degree or the start of the circle (elipse) which the vernal equinox, which is the time in march where at the equator the earth can be observed to be directly overhead. This time actually changes every year by 6 hours, but due to our leap year rules every 4 years the time is reset. (Not exactly though, and in 70 years time the equinox will be a day later than it is now). Since the star signs were originally created roughly 2500 years ago, the star signs are out by about a month. So in reality you were born under the star sign behind the one you think you are. (ignoring the differing lengths for the time being) because what was once June 30th is now July 30th roughly.

2500 BC: Humans also created this, and this is just plain weird

The finally nail in the zodiacs coffin is the recent announcement that the sun actually passes through 13 constellations, not the 12 originally thought. This shifts the star signs even more. Now this has actually been known for a while and the idea of adding a 13th zodiac sign was actually proposed in the 1970's, although lets be honest that definately sounds like an idea from the 1970's.

"Man, you know what would be a good idea man, if we had a 13th zodiac Sign man"

So let's review, the positions of the constellations have changed a lot since the idea was first introduced, and recently it was decided to add a 13 th one, and the lengths of these divisions are not as uniform as we would like to think. So the star sign you think you are, is actually quite unlikely to be the constellation you were born under.
Assuming your life is based on which constellation the sun when you are born surely it is important to know exactly which constellation it was, and not just a poor estimate.
I have also read since this revelation has come out some people have pledged to remain true to their original star sign. This makes no sense at all as you weren't originally born under that old star sign, so if the constellations have an effect, you won't be exhibiting any of those traits anyway.

"LALALALA,  I am not listening, I don't care I am a Cancer, LALALALA"

 If there is a real effect, the doctor should actually be ringing the observatory every birth to check which constellation we are in, so we can get it right, and not just blatantly underthink it.

"Yes, Dr Fredricks, this one is a Pisces"

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